SHASS staff members David Dolev of MISTI and Daria Johnson of Literature receive 2015 MIT Excellence Awards


David Dolev of MISTI and Daria Johnson of Literature have been recognized with the 2015 awards for "Advancing Inclusion and Global Persepctive" and "Bringing out the Best," respectively. 

The MIT Excellence awards are among the highest honors awarded to staff by the Institute. These awards are intended primarily to acknowledge the work of service, support, administrative, and sponsored research staff. They are also for faculty and other academic staff where their work meets the specific guidelines described within the six award categories: Advancing Inclusion and Global Perspectives;  Innovative Solutions; Bringing Out the Best; Sustaining MIT; Serving the Client; Unsung Hero; and the Collier Medal of Service. 

This year two SHASS staff members, Daria Johnson of Literature and David Dolev of MISTI, have been recognized with the Bringing out the Best award and the Advancing Inclusion and Global Perspectives award, respectively.

Daria Johnson | Bringing out the Best

The recipient of the 2015 "Bringing out the Best" award is Daria Johnson, the Undergraduate Academic Administrator in the Literature Section. As one of her many supporters for this award observed, “Daria is the star who makes our staff, faculty, and students all shine brighter."

"She builds connections across all cohorts — students, faculty, and staff, and serves as a key motivator in any collaboration,” says SHASS associate dean Kai von Fintel. “She participates at all levels of the School and Institute and deftly ensures that her section’s (and our School’s) interests are represented at central levels.”

“She initiated and now coordinates the practice of faculty visits to introductory literature classes each semester,” says a another colleague. “These sessions expose students to potential instructors they might not otherwise encounter, and introduce professors to students outside their own immediate classes, helping to build the collegial atmosphere of the section. She works indefatigably to reach students, make sure they have the information they need, and make them feel at home in Literature.”

"I am very passionate about the work that I do,” says Johnson. “So, when I found out that I was selected to receive the Institute’s Bringing Out the Best Award, when there were so many other equally deserving people, it was incredibly humbling. It is a privilege to support the students and faculty that cross my path at MIT, and I find joy in being able to be a mentor and a friend to all of them.”

David Dolev | Advancing Inclusion and Global Perspectives

The 2015 recipient of the "Advancing Inclusion and Global Perspectives" award is David Dolev from the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). David is Assistant Director of MISTI and Managing Director of the MIT-Israel Program.

“I was honored by receiving an MIT Excellence award,” says Dolev, “an award that many other members of the MIT community also deserve. The event itself was very moving, especially standing side by side with other MIT staff and faculty that really make a difference in the lives of the MIT community. What struck me sitting in Kresge and hearing about each of the awardees, was the common dominator of all — they were all people that connected with others as their modus operandi in a unique, MIT way. Something so important to remember, especially during the tragedies of these last few weeks.”

David Dolev has always worked well beyond the bounds of his job title. Since his arrival at the MIT-Israel Program in 2008, he has poured his time and energy into creating opportunities for hundreds of MIT students to experience Israel through internships and research opportunities. He also created MISTI 2.0, a revolutionary new program that encourages MIT students to become global leaders.

“More than any other person I know at MIT,” one colleague says, “David reaches out eagerly and often to bring people together around a common idea, initiating dialogues and partnerships with colleagues across the Institute — and beyond.”

What’s important, his colleagues say, is that David is guided not just by a sense of what is right, but what is right for MIT students. For years David has felt that it was an oversight that MISTI did not have a program in the Arab world. Over the past several months, David has taken it upon himself to rectify the situation. For every hurdle, David has found a way over it. For every problem, David has invented a solution. For every “no,” David has extracted a “yes.”

But he is used to building bridges. In the MEET program, Dolev helps recruit and prepare MIT students to go to Jerusalem, where they train Israeli and Palestinian high-schoolers in entrepreneurship and computer science to foster new levels of understanding and camaraderie.

2015 Excellence Award story at MIT News

MIT Literature website

MISTI, a pioneering program of MIT SHASS
MIT's flagship international education program prepares 800+ MIT students each year for transformative international internships 


David Dolev, by Molly Schneider
Daria Johnson, by Jon Sachs, MIT SHASS Communications 
Published March 30, 2015